After Brooks Koepka’s win at the PGA Championship its becoming more clear that LIV’s schedule sets up better for player performance.
When many of the world’s top players began to defect from the PGA Tour to move over to the new LIV Golf League, one of the main reasons they gave was that they wanted to play less while others pointed to the tiresome grind of the PGA Tour’s schedule with tournaments across North America week after week.
With Brooks Koepka winning the PGA Championship this past week at Oak Hill which followed his near miss at The Masters (before eventually finishing in second to Jon Rahm), it looks as though the lightened schedule of LIV is allowing their players significant success at the major championships.
LIV has 14 events on their 2023 schedule which began in February in Mexico and concludes November 5 in Saudi Arabia. The PGA Tour has 45 events on their schedule for the 2022-23 season which doesn’t include the four majors (that would make it 49).
The grind of playing on the PGA Tour is much harder than it looks.
Last June, I spent the week at St. George’s in Toronto covering the RBC Canadian Open where Rory McIlroy won to earn his 21st career title. I was exhausted from just walking the course every day as well as writing and producing content all week.
On the Monday following, I was sitting in my back yard with my morning coffee scrolling social media only to see video of McIlroy on the practice tee’s at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts from earlier that morning at 8am.
There was no late night celebration into the early morning hours after the win in Toronto but rather a late night flight to Boston followed by a quick nap and then back to work. I was completed wiped out and couldn’t fathom the energy it must take from a guy like McIlroy week after week all year long.
This past week at Oak Hill, it appeared that (then) world No.1 Jon Rahm looked completely gassed on his way to shooting a 7-over par which saw him finish T50. Its very clear the grind of the PGA Tour schedule had finally caught up to Rahm.
In comparison, many of LIV’s top stars look refreshed and comfortable including Koepka along with Bryson DeChambeau who spoke about his incredible weight loss and body transformation as well as Cameron Smith who closed Sunday with the low round of the week shooting a 65.
52 year-old Phil Mickelson made the cut at the PGA Championship which followed his T2 at The Masters but more importantly, he looks to be in the best shape of his life.
The average golf fan may have a difficult time understanding how someone could be tired or frustrated travelling the globe week after week playing golf while staying in five-star hotels and the fine dining that comes with it.
However, as a former music agent and tour manager for over 20 years I can fully attest to just how mentally and physically draining that lifestyle can be. While on the road with rock stars and rappers, I was living a life few can imagine, but I can’t how many nights I wasn’t focused on my job because I couldn’t wait to get home to my own bed and see my kids and be at the soccer or hockey game instead of in a nightclub.
A handful of times, I had to ask one of the bands managers to take on my tour managing duties for the last two or three shows of a long concert tour because I was physically or mentally drained and just wanted to get home. So I can totally understand why a professional golfer would say, “I don’t want to play every week and travel like that nonstop because I want more time with my family.”
Its time PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan begins to listen to his players and starts to chop numerous events from the PGA Tour schedule to allow his players ample opportunity to rest and recover.
Aside from the tournament directors at each event, but would anybody lose sleep if the PGA Tour chopped the likes of the 3M Open in Blaine, Minnesota or the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Kentucky or perhaps the QBE Shootout?
After Koepka’s success along with his fellow LIV players at the first two majors of 2023, its almost certain there are additional big name players on the PGA Tour who have had their agents reach out to Greg Norman about making the move to LIV.